With technology continually evolving and a global pandemic that has drastically altered our current way of life, 2020 has seen a great deal of change in a short time span. This is especially true in the healthcare landscape. While many sources are reporting on the ways coronavirus is challenging our hospitals and healthcare system at large, mental health services have faced similar obstacles.
With many traditional offices closing down for social distancing purposes, it has been difficult to schedule in-person therapy sessions. As a solution, many therapists are turning to remote therapy options. But what is remote, online or tele-therapy?
Remote therapy consists of sessions that can be held over the phone, through text or a video chat, instead of meeting in person. There is an option for everyone that is looking to seek help, no matter what your communication preference is.
In many cases, remote therapy can be even more convenient than traditional, in person methods. Now more than ever, it is easy to stay connected. With no additional commute time or waiting rooms, you and your patients save valuable time throughout the day. Remote therapy also allows your patients to meet with you in the comfort of their own home. It is easy to squeeze a meeting in during their lunch break and they can keep scheduled appointments even while traveling or when they are away from home. In addition, last minute sessions are more readily available so you can fill your schedule and see more patients in a day.
With more time spent at home social distancing, many who did not previously seek mental health services are beginning to feel the need to start. According to the Washington Post, “Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year.”
You might recommend that in between visits, your patients utilize mental health resources to supplement their regularly planned visits. This way they can get the help they need immediately, if necessary. These popular apps and services accept insurance and are flexible with financial aid plans for those who need it.
Better Help provides flexibility and is an approachable first step in seeking mental health services. Patients can remain anonymous if they prefer it and can pick from a list of licensed, professional therapists who fit their specific needs.
Talkspace utilizes banking-grade encryption, all chats are kept safe and confidential. With no wait times, they can message a therapist whenever it is most convenient.
Teen Counseling is specifically tailored to help teenagers aged 13-19 thrive with professional counseling. This service provides therapy via text, phone, chat and video and is HIPAA compliant.
If your patients are looking to manage stress and anxiety on their own first, Headspace leads guided meditations. It has different exercises designed to help people relax, breathe and sleep more peacefully. And if they are currently unemployed, they’re eligible to receive an entire year of Headspace services for free.
Remote therapy is a great option to fit in to a variety of different lifestyles. Mental health isn’t one size fits all and there will definitely be a learning curve to the adjustment to remote therapy. Spend some time browsing your different options and resources to find the solution that works best for you and your patients.